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There has been a temporary change to the law around some parts of the education, health and care (EHCP) process due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The changes have been made to allow health commissioning bodies and ourselves (Hertfordshire County Council), greater flexibility in our duties during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The changes in law relating to reasonable endeavours are in place until 30 June 2020, unless the statutory notice is renewed. The temporary arrangements related to exceptions on timescales will last until 25 September 2020.

What is changing?

The use of 'reasonable endeavours' to arrange or deliver provision

We will use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to deliver or arrange the provision that is in a child or young person's EHCP.

When deciding what provision will be arranged we, alongside health commissioners, will consider the following:

  • local circumstances, (for example, workforce capacity and skills, temporary closures of education settings and guidance on measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus).
  • the needs of, and specific circumstances affecting the child/young adult.
  • the views of the child/young adult and their parents over what provision might be appropriate.
  •  what, what, where, when, how and by who the provision will be made.

Examples of using 'reasonable endeavours':

  • A temporary placement in another school - mainstream or special, with the agreement of the parent or young person.
  • Checking in with families on a regular basis.
  • Providing a laptop to support a pupil’s learning.
  • Sharing resources and sensory activities that can be carried out at home.
  • Home learning reading programme, provided by SENCo, reviewed weekly.

Further examples can be viewed online here.

Flexibility in timescales for EHC needs assessments and plans

The law now requires that local authorities, health care professionals, education settings and others, act 'as soon as reasonably practicable' to complete actions in the statutory EHC process. This means that if it isn't possible for a professional to complete an action within the usual statutory timescale due to the Coronavirus pandemic, they must instead complete it as soon as they are able to do so.

The flexibility in the timescales now covers these processes:

  • handling of requests for EHC needs assessments
  • decisions whether to issue an EHCP
  • the preparation and issue of EHCPs
  • annual reviews of EHCPs
  • the mediation processes
  • the process for a local authority reviewing for the first time the making and use of direct payments from a Personal Budget that is part of an EHCP.
  • the timing of actions that the local authority and health commissioning body must take when the First-tier Tribunal makes non-binding recommendations about health and social care matters within an EHCP.

What will stay the same?


  • the law has been temporarily modified, not disapplied.
  • the Guidance states that Children, young adults and their parents must still be fully involved in making decisions.
  • there is no change to timescales for schools to admit children or to respond to being named in an EHCP, complaints or rights of appeal, or First Tier Tribunals.

If you are not happy with the arrangements being proposed, an interim review meeting can take place to resolve matters.


Our responsibilities

Our responsibilities at this time

  • we (Hertfordshire County Council) will provide advice to settings/schools and colleges, to talk through the process and provide support.
  • we will request that you keep a record of the provision that has been agreed and we will gather the outcome of these contacts. This will be a plan agreed with the parents and kept with the child’s EHCP. (Reasonable Endeavours Plan).
  • parents/carers will receive a follow-up telephone call from one of our officers if they do not reply or if major concerns are flagged.

Early years providers, schools and colleges

The responsibilities of early years providers, schools and colleges is as follows:

  • early years providers, schools and colleges must continue reviewing the delivery/arrangement of the provision, to acknowledge that a child's needs may change or a service may become more available.
  • early years providers, schools and colleges must contact all families whose child/young adult has an EHCP, to discuss the provision in place at this time and any further support required.

Please be aware that LAs and health bodies cannot make blanket policies, such as ‘We are unable to provide EP or SALT advice in 6 weeks’.

Annual reviews should also stll be taking place.


Concerns or questions

If you have any concerns about the proposed arrangements, please contact your named SEN Officer in the first instance.

For free impartial advice, please contact SENDIASS.

Coronavirus ISL Contact Line

Monday to Friday between 2pm - 4.30pm, 01992 588574

Key Contacts

Your SEN Officer will then work with their colleagues in integrated services for learning to help you find a positive way forward.

North Herts and Stevenage

Sally Glossop - Sally.Glossop@hertfordshire.gov.uk

01442 453531

St Albans and Dacorum

Patricia Walker - Patricia.Walker@hertfordshire.gov.uk

01992 555352

East Herts, Broxbourne, Welwyn and Hatfield

Adam Hayes - Adam.Hayes@hertfordshire.gov.uk

01707 281587

Watford, Three Rivers and Hertsmere

Richard Woodard - Richard.Woodard@hertfordshire.gov.uk

01442 453224

Principle Educational Psychologists

Melanie Flay - Melanie.Flay@hertfordshire.gov.uk

01442 435904

Naina Cowell - Naina.Cowell@hertfordshire.gov.uk

01992 556022

 

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